Smoak: biz leaders in Vegas ‘very impressed’ with Town
With a handful of entrepreneurs chosing to move their businesses out of Farragut within the past year, Stephen Krempasky said he’s one Town business advocate especially concerned about retaining businesses.
Meanwhile, Town leaders headed west to Las Vegas earlier this month trying to sell Farragut to various retailers, developers and tenant reps as an attractive place to expand their business interests.
Recalling a discussion on “what to do to attract businesses” during the May 2 Economic Development Advisory Committee meeting, “I brought up the point, ‘what I’m seeing is (the need for) retaining businesses,’” said Krempasky, executive director of Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance, during its Thursday, May 17, meeting in Town Hall.
“They asked me to serve … on a small committee to look at what’s going on, what’s the feel of businesses here,” he added. “Why some move, why some don’t move. Why there’s still a feeling of ‘it’s tough to do business (in Farragut).’”
After the meeting, Krempasky said “location and parking, and code issues … and leases” are reasons businesses cite for leaving Town.
However, “signage is the biggest one,” he added. “That continues to be a bugaboo. It’s the amount of it, and because a lot of businesses are off the (main) roads.”
Because temporary signage isn’t allowed for Town businesses in Turkey Creek due to special covenants beyond the control of Town government — unlike the rest of Farragut, where it’s allowed for 10 days four times a year — “there’s inconsistencies even within the Town,” Krempasky said.
He said the committee’s duties “probably will be anonymous survey stuff; collect data about why (businesses) are staying, why people stay and why people leave, and see if we can identify those kinds of trends.
“And that way we can create a benchmark and say, ‘are the codes too stringent? Are there other things wrong? How do we change attitudes?’” Krempasky added.
David Smoak, Town administrator, joined Board of Mayor and Aldermen representatives and other Town leaders who made their annual trek to International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas looking to recruit new businesses to Farragut.
Before the trip, he said at the meeting, “We’ve got some good meetings set up with different developers, different tenant reps and retailers. … We’re looking forward to getting in front of a few different folks that we haven’t in the past. Try to get them interested in developing our Town.”
A few days after returning from Vegas, Smoak stated in a press release, “The Town was able to meet with many developers, retailers and tenant representatives about potential sites in Farragut.
“Several were very impressed with our strong economic base and expressed interest in following up with site visits in the near future,” he further stated.